Obviously, I have to start by saying that everyone's mornings are going to vary. What makes YOUR morning perfect will probably be drastically different than what makes my morning perfect. I also have to say that "perfect" simply means that there are more smiles than frowns, you feel content, and efficient. Knowing how much you can get done while also spending time with your daughter (in my case) without feeling like you're ignoring any responsibilities can be a HARD act to balance.
My daughter is currently not feeling well, so she's curled up on the couch with her precious pillowcase (most kids have a blankie... my daughter has a pillowcase that she drags around everywhere) and I have Pororo streaming on the TV for her. I hate the stereotypical "sit your kid in front of the tv to work", but in this case she's happier there than playing. I will soon be getting up to snuggle with her.
Morning routines are bae.
This morning has been ideal, and I'd like to tell you why while also telling you how you can manage to create your perfect morning working from home as well.
Before I start, I have to say that Emily Swanda over at EMproved Life has taught me the method of "whirlwind" cleaning, which simply means that you choose a few areas each morning and spend about 5 minutes doing a "whirlwind" cleaning. She has a routine that includes specific tasks, which she talks a lot about in her post, My Secrets For Always Having a Clean House. (She actually has a few free printables in that post as well; worth the download.)
Her exact steps look like this:
Morning Whirlwind Clean(kids):
- make beds
- put away pajamas
- comb hair
- brush teeth
- get dressed for the day
Morning Whirlwind Clean (me):
- unload the dishwasher
- wipe down counter tops
- dump kitchen trash
Evening Whirlwind Clean (everyone):
- put away any items that may have made their way to the living spaces and put back in their “homes”
- All laundry put in hamper.
Now, mine varies quite a bit, but that's the beauty of whirlwind cleaning. You can alter it to fit your ideal morning, afternoon, and evening. As a work at home mom, it's important to identify the few things that really make me feel like getting things done, and for me, it's these things:
- The dishes have to be done.
- The living room floor has to be clean.
- And there can't be any food left out on the counters. Gross.
5 Steps to Achieve the Perfect Work At Home Morning
As I said before, this will vary drastically or minimally depending on what YOU want for your own morning.
1. Craft a "Whirlwind" routine, or a very quick 5 minute daily to-do list.
It can be making your bed, brushing your teeth, cleaning the kitchen, etc. It's important to establish what makes YOU feel comfortable in your own home, so consider carefully while you're making your routine. Then, I suggest writing it down on a piece of paper and sticking it to the fridge or laminating it. My grandmother swears by laminating things and using dry erase markers on them to stay organized.
My 5 minute morning routine looks just like this:
- Pick up the toys on the living room floor.
- Clean the bathroom sink while brushing teeth.
- Make the bed.
- Do the dishes (usually very fast since I just throw them in the dishwasher).
- Clear the kitchen counters of anything that doesn't belong.
For me, in order to feel accomplished about my morning and ready to get to work, I HAVE to do these things. Maybe it just makes me feel like I'm adulting. I dunno. ;)
Again, your routine can vary, and if you need 10, 15, or even 20 minutes to do it, then make it so! This is about YOU and YOUR morning.
2. Make time to connect with one friend.
This might sound funny, but as work at home moms, we're often cut off and don't get out much. Today, I wrote a text to my friend Katie, who currently lives in Mexico. All it said was, "You're on my prayer list today! I love you!" This helps me feel connected and less alone. Plus, it opens up a line of communication.
Posting in your favorite Facebook group can help too. It'll encourage connections with lots of business babes!
3. Ask yourself what makes you happy.
This post was inspired by Whitney Ryan's recent blog post, "To entrepreneurs who want more "happy" but can't quite get there..." because as I was reading it, I was sipping on my coffee in a new mug that I love and listening to my husband make breakfast. Two things that make me incredibly happy. (Her post touched on a lot, including considering whether or not happiness is binary - check it out! It's a great read.)
If getting up at 6:00am and drinking coffee, chatting with your hubby, and writing out your Bible verses for the day makes you happy, do that. Whatever your cup of tea is, make sure to spend a little time on it after your morning routine, or maybe even during it. My little happy time only lasted about 20 minutes this morning, but it was enough to kickstart my day and make me feel like writing this blog post and getting shit done. I'd say that's a great start.
So ask yourself, "What makes me happy?" Then spend some time doing that.
4. Spend time with your babies.
All of this happened this morning before my daughter had awoken for the day. In the middle of blogging this, I put her back down for a small nap because she's not feeling well. Before she went down, I was sure to spend some good quality time with her. Earlier, before I even started working, she helped me by throwing away her dirty diaper and picking out her outfit. She's becoming quite the little lady and it's important that I take time out to help her develop her newfound likes, dislikes, and routines.
Whether your baby is a puppy, a tiny human, or something else that demands your time, make sure to spend a bit of it with them before anything else. You'll feel less guilt as you dive into your work... and lemme tell you... #momguiltkills. ;)
5. Make your morning results-based.
Sometimes I get really caught up in what I HAVE to accomplish for the day and my to do list just seems to be endless. But if I break it down and ask myself, "What will I feel okay with accomplishing today if I can only accomplish three things? What sorts of results am I looking for by noon?"
Today, for me, it's writing this blog post and hitting publish before 11am, getting three client tasks accomplished, and spending more time with Diana since she's sick and needs more snuggles than usual.
Sounds easy, right? The results of my efforts will bring about:
- More traffic to the blog (more blogging = more things to share on social media = more traffic),
- The happiness of a client,
- And the happiness of my daughter.
...All of which matters extremely to me.
PS. Here are some quick tips to make your morning more efficient.
... Write everything down the night before on a piece of paper or in something like Asana. That way, when you wake up and are ready to conquer your day, you KNOW what you're working on right away!
... Join an accountability group and check in with them in the mornings. Tell them what it is you want to accomplish!
... Let your kids help with the cleaning. Whatever it is! Even my 19 month old knows how to take things to the bathroom or throw trash away.